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Community College Class Project Ensures High School Girls Will Be Able to Attend The Prom Despite Lack of Finances

March 13, 2013

Project Prepares Hospitality Management Students to Enter the Workforce Strong

(Columbia, MD) Spring has sprung and prom prices have popped; Visa, Inc.’s Prom Spending Survey continues to show that the average prom experience costs a whopping $1,000. Surprisingly, 2,500 high school students in Howard County live near or below the poverty level. Thanks to a Howard Community College class project, called “The Perfect Prom Project,” more than 50 local high school girls will not have to forfeit the once-in-a-lifetime experience due to lack of finances. As part of a class assignment, the students in Event Management 164 have created, designed and planned a shopping extravaganza, so area high school girls can “shop” at no cost for nearly-new prom dresses at a student-designed “boutique” located on the college’s campus on Thursday, March 21, 6:00 – 8:30 p.m. (Rouse Company Student Services Hall, 4th Floor). The high school girls, who will have their own personal student-stylists, will try on a variety of nearly-new dresses, accessories and shoes in a student-created setting that has been designed to pamper first and foremost.

The highly unusual class project is designed to teach 23 Howard Community College students, who range in age from 17 - 63 and are pursuing careers in hospitality management, how to apply event-coordinating skills in the workforce, while reinforcing their social responsibility to give back to their community. Mimicking the work world, each hospitality management student had to apply for a job that will be carried out during the event (i.e. shopping coordinator, footwear stylist, activity coordinator, etc.). 

What about the dresses? Recently, the college’s Center for Service Learning completed a full-scale Prom Dress Donation Drive on campus, which was designed to yield a selection of beautiful dresses and accessories. Considerable support for the donation drive was received from Howard Community College faculty, staff and students who made the prom dress donations at five designated “prom drop-offs:” the Center for Service Learning, Continuing Education Office, Development Office, the Office of Student Life; and the Security Office.  In addition, more than half of the dresses were donated by the citizens of Howard County. Glenelg High School and Centennial High School also ran a separate donation drive to support the event. In total, over 250 prom dresses, 100 accessory items and 55 pairs of shoes were donated.

The Prom Dress Donation Drive was sponsored by the college’s Center for Service Learning and the college’s Professional/Technical Constituency Group (comprised of staff members ranging from higher-level administrative support positions to assistant directors).

Surrounding businesses have also supported the project:

  • Annapolis Photo Booth will donate a booth, so the girls can have photos taken during the evening.
  • Kings Contrivance Formal Wear will offer all prom party guests 20% off any tailoring that may be needed for the dresses.
  • Florist Barilynn Waak will donate one free corsage and one free boutonniere to a prom party participant.
  • Glyndon Lord Baltimore dry-cleaned over 160 of the prom dresses for free.

About HCC
Howard Community College (HCC) is a publicly funded two-year community college serving the educational needs of the citizens and employers in Howard County, Maryland since 1970. With its slogan, “You Can Get There from Here,” the college has forged a variety of partnerships to offer career and transfer programs to over 30,000 students annually at its main campus in Columbia, the Ecker Business Training Center, Laurel College Center, and Mount Airy College Center for Health Care Education. Located midway between two major metropolitan areas, Washington DC and Baltimore, MD, Howard Community College is an affordable, community-based institution that has long been recognized for its ability to inspire learning, and the lifelong pursuit of personal and professional goals. Among its many awards is the prestigious U.S. Senate Productivity Award for organizational performance excellence.